Welcome to your
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Welcome to your Homeowner's Guide to Success
Hardships create difficult situations and require difficult decisions.
If you're experiencing a hardship, you might be wondering what bills to pay and if you can still afford your home. If you're having trouble paying your mortgage, your mortgage servicer may provide mortgage assistance options to help you avoid foreclosure. Mortgage assistance may provide options to keep you in your home with an affordable payment or help you with a graceful exit from your home.
This booklet provides you with practical guidance on what to expect, and what choices you may have when you're having trouble paying your mortgage.
What happens if my payment is late?
It's important to always pay your mortgage on time. Your payment is due on the 1st of every month. If your payment is late, your servicer may charge you a late fee and attempt to contact you. The good news is that, you have until the 15th of the month to make your payment before a late fee is charged. A late fee can be charged for each month that you miss a payment. Additional fees can also be charged if you go into default (more than 30 days late). If you miss a mortgage payment, your loan will be "past due." If your loan is 30 days past due, it may be reported on your credit report. A single late or missed payment on your credit report can reduce your credit score.
Free, expert help is available
Your mortgage servicer or a HUD-approved Housing Counseling Agency can help at no cost to you. The sooner you call your servicer or a housing counselor, the more options you will have.
Your mortgage servicer manages your mortgage account. The servicer accepts your regular monthly payment, will advise you of potential upcoming rate changes, and, if you make escrow payments, submits your property taxes and/or insurance payments on your behalf.
If at any point you struggle to make your mortgage payment, your servicer may be able to help you with assistance options.
Your mortgage servicer may or may not be the company that provided your mortgage. It is normal for a mortgage to move from one servicer to another over the life of a loan.
Other participants in the mortgage finance industry include investors, insurers and guarantors. In some cases, these different entities may require your servicer to follow guidelines that can impact what options your servicer can offer you. However, your mortgage servicer will know these guidelines and will work with you to service your account.
An investor is the company that owns your loan. Investors may include private companies such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. There may also be government agencies that guarantee or insure lenders and investors against certain losses that result from a defaulted loan. These government agencies may include entities like Ginnie Mae, FHA, USDA, and the VA.
BE WARY of foreclosure rescue scams or anyone who wants you to pay a fee to avoid foreclosure. Click link to get more information on scams or click the Find a Housing Counselor link
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How can your mortgage servicer help you?
If you are having trouble with your mortgage, your servicer will try to understand your situation. If there is a hardship, your servicer will explore mortgage assistance options with you. Options might include a repayment plan, loan modification, short sale or Deed-In-Lieu of foreclosure. If a mortgage assistance solution cannot be reached, and the account remains delinquent, your home may be foreclosed on.
Reach out to your servicer now!
Your servicer will send you a list of the documentation that you will need to provide to be evaluated for help; examples include paystubs, bank statements, and award letters (or other types of formal documentation that identifies certain monthly benefits to which you may be entitled ? such as Social Security). Some documents may need updating periodically and therefore, may be requested several times.
You may need to provide a "hardship letter" and proof of hardship to your servicer. The hardship letter should be detailed so your servicer can better understand your situation.
You may also be asked to sign documents to allow the servicer to check your credit report or seek tax information to confirm some of the financial information you provide.
How will these documents be used?
Your servicer will use the documentation to determine your eligibility for mortgage assistance options.
Tip: A housing counselor can assist you with your hardship letter and any other questions that you may have.
What are the important dates to know?
As soon as you think you can't make your payment, contact your mortgage servicer or housing counselor
30 days past due Your servicer may report you to credit reporting companies as delinquent on your loan
36 days past due Your servicer is required to try and make live contact with you
45 days past due Your servicer is required to assign you personnel to respond to your inquiries and assist you with available assistance options, and send you a written notice
121 Days past due Your loan may be referred to foreclosure attorneys unless you have an active loss mitigation application package
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A housing counselor can help!
A HUD-approved housing counselor is a trained professional who can advise you on choices that may be available to prevent foreclosure. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) supports a network of housing counseling agencies throughout the country. Housing counseling is available in many languages. The HOPE Hotline provides assistance from a housing counselor by telephone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (888) 995HOPE (4673).
A Housing Counselor Will:
Help you to understand your current situation, explain your mortgage assistance options and review what documents you will need to provide to your servicer.
Be able to contact the servicer and help prepare and submit your application to the servicer on your behalf.
Help you make a budget to help you pay your monthly mortgage payment and other expenses.
Provide information about local resources that may be helpful to you.
How to Find a Housing Counselor:
findacounselor or v/find-a-housing-counselor/
HOPE Hotline at (888) 995-HOPE (4673)
Hearing and speech impaired individuals can use the following TTY number for assistance: 877-304-9709.
There is no charge to work with a HUD-approved housing counseling agency when you're having trouble paying your mortgage ? Help is free!
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What types of mortgage assistance options might be available to you?
Below is a list of mortgage assistance options that your mortgage servicer might make available to you. The first time that you complete an application for mortgage assistance (also called loss mitigation), your servicer must evaluate you for all options available to you. It's important to work with your mortgage servicer or housing counselor to try to find the mortgage assistance option that works best for you. If you bring your account current any time after submitting your first completed application, you can re-apply in the future and your servicer must fully review your new complete application.
The programs below are general types of mortgage assistance solutions that are often available to homeowners. However, you should be aware that each mortgage servicer and investor may offer customers different types of solutions that have different eligibility requirements. Every situation and solution is unique; and what your mortgage servicer can offer you will depend on your situation and the requirements of your loan's investor. For additional information, see the helpful terms list on page 9 of this document.
Does this sound like me?
How does it work?
A reinstatement may be right for me if...
I had a temporary financial hardship that prevented me from making my monthly mortgage payment, but now I have the money to pay the amount that I owe.
No formalized plan Simply repay the amount owed.
A forbearance plan may be right for me if....
I am experiencing a temporary financial hardship but will resume my previous level of income in the next few months. For example, I am a victim of a natural disaster and need some time to take care of my home and my family.
Pay a reduced payment during temporary hardship.
Loan will continue to accrue interest and arrearages will be due at the end of the forbearance plan.
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